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Emanuel must end culture of cronyism at CPS

Chicago Teachers Union: Emanuel must end culture of cronyism at CPS

Mayor’s hand-picked school CEO exposed for aiding and abetting top lawyer’s appalling breach of ethics.

CHICAGO, September 22, 2017—On September 21, Chicagoans learned that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked schools chief, as well as his CPS general counsel, has been mired for months in an appalling breach of ethics. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis today issued the following statement in response to this scandal:

STATEMENT: Emanuel must move to terminate Claypool, Marmer

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked school chief Forrest Claypool, like his predecessors before him, has been outed for putting the personal gain of clouted political players ahead of the most basic principles of ethics—and ahead of the well-being of our students, their families and the educators who serve them.

We should not be surprised by this most recent ethics breach by Claypool and his CPS general counsel, Ronald Marmer. This is not the first school scandal involving Emanuel’s latest CPS CEO. Claypool has refused to terminate CPS contracts with companies like Aramark and Sodexo despite the deplorable conditions they’ve allowed to fester in our schools. He’s steered millions of dollars in no-bid contracts into the coffers of high-rent, politically connected “consultants” with little to show for those expenditures but more costly debt and deeper classroom cuts. Now Claypool has been exposed for yet another pay-to-play political scandal involving the school system’s top lawyer, who’s given Claypool almost $25,000 in direct political contributions and donated to Mayor Emanuel and President Donald Trump’s top Illinois donor Ron Gidwitz, as well.

These are not people who care about our public schools or the public trust. These are people who view the people’s business as a public trough to enrich their friends and bankroll their reactionary political agendas.

Mayor Emanuel, the enabler of this culture of political cronyism, must address not just this most recent fiscal impropriety but the growing mountain of debt that Claypool’s regime has saddled on our school communities. It’s time for Emanuel to create sustainable, responsible and fair sources of revenue to address the system’s chronic structural deficit. It’s time for Emanuel to end the culture of pinstripe patronage that each of his school chiefs has aided and abetted. And it’s time for Emanuel to put our tax dollars to use where they’re most desperately needed: to address our students’ trauma with wraparound services, to offer our children lower class sizes like those that benefit his own children and to clean up and care for our school communities.

And it’s time for Emanuel and the Chicago Board of Education to move to terminate both Claypool and Marmer, and embrace the public’s overwhelming support for an elected representative school board instead of a board hand-picked by the mayor and guaranteed to rubber stamp these ongoing ethical and fiscal offenses.

We should note that we sought to file a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General’s office about this latest Claypool/Marmer/Emanuel scandal, but a staffer at the office advised us that their office cannot investigate Claypool because his daughter works for the Illinois Attorney General. We’ve asked the AG’s office to confirm this in writing.

Chicago Teachers Union